If you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering what electrical engineering is and how it’s different from other types of engineering. While it’s obvious that having the word electrical means it’s related to electricity, you obviously want to know more.
Very briefly, electrical engineering is an area of engineering that handles the research on and use of electricity, electromagnetism and electronics. This area first grew to become an identifiable occupation during the latter part of the 1800s after the telegraph, the phone, and electric energy became commercially distributed. Subsequently, broadcasting and recording media made electronics a part of daily existence. The invention from the transistor and, subsequently, the integrated circuit lowered the prices of electronics to the point where they can be bought by just about anyone.
Electrical engineering has subdivided into an array of subfields including electronics, digital computer systems, control systems, energy engineering, radio-frequency engineering, telecommunications, instrumentation, signal processing, and microelectronics. The topic of electronic engineering is frequently convoluted since one subfield typically intersects with the other subfields.
Electrical engineers typically hold a diploma in electrical engineering. Practicing engineers have a professional certification and become members of professional engineering groups.
Electrical engineers work in many, many different industries. The abilities needed for each job in each industry also differ. These vary from knowledge in basic circuit theory for entry-level engineers to management abilities needed for a project manager. The equipment and tools that the individual engineer may require are similarly variable, varying from the simple voltmeter to some top finish analyzer to stylish design and manufacturing software.
Although you will find electrical engineers who focus solely on one of sub discipline, many work with a mix of them.
The work of electric engineers is sometimes confused with the work of electronics engineers. But although they are similar, they are different.
While electricians design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment, for example electric motors, radar and satnav systems, communications systems, and energy generation equipment, electronics engineers design and develop electronics, for example broadcast and communications systems, from portable music gamers to GPS navigation systems.
Both electrical and electronics engineers work mainly in the development and research industries, although they may also work in engineering services firms, in manufacturing companies, and for the US government. Both types of engineers generally work inside offices, however, they are sometimes required to visit sites to resolve an issue or fix complex equipment.
Electrical engineers and electronics engineers should have a bachelor’s degree, and companies will only hire people who have the credentials to prove their qualifications. Companies also value working experience, so participation in cooperative engineering programs, by which students earn academic credit for structured experience, can increase your chances of employment.
In May 2012, the median annual wage for electrical engineers was $87,920, while the median annual wage for electronics engineers was $91,820.
Job prospects for electrical engineers are at an all-time steady as most industries that employ them still have a need for them.